UCLA opens spring practice Tuesday. The Bruins will have 15 workouts followed by a scrimmage at the Rose Bowl on May 5. All practices, including the scrimmage, are open to the public.
Here are five questions facing the Bruins:
Can UCLA develop a quality quarterback and keep him healthy?
Bruins quarterbacks were once checked out by the NFL. Too often now they are checked out by an MRI.
Nothing will be scrutinized more this spring than the quarterback competition among Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut, Brett Hundley and T.J. Millweard. Injuries had Prince and Brehaut alternating last season.
Coach Jim Mora would like to identify a starter and be able to stick with him. “You do your players a real disservice if you’re flip-flopping all the time,” he said.
Is there any NFL talent on the offensive line?
The NFL hasn’t drafted an offensive lineman from UCLA since 1999. Finally, though, they Bruins may have a person of interest: left tackle Xavier Su’a-Filo, who returns from a two-year Mormon mission.
Will the defense look any less like 11 powder-blue pylons?
The Bruins gave up 31.4 points per game last season, the fourth-most in school history. Mora wants toughness. He hired strength coach Sal Alosi and intends to have the Bruins hit this spring.
“It won’t be a blood bath, but it needs to be hard, it needs to be demanding,” Mora said.
With several players changing positions, what is the most intriguing switch?
Anthony Barr was asked to move from Y-back on offense to outside linebacker. He has the size — 6 feet 5, 238 pounds — and speed. Mora wants to see if he has the grit.
“Getting hit is different than hitting,” Mora said. “I think we’ll be able to tell pretty quickly.”
With new coaches who have new philosophies, what will be the biggest change?
Attitude, Mora hopes.
Traditions such as the “over the wall” day, when the team skipped practice, won’t be tolerated.
“I need to find out, the coaches need to find out, the players need to find out who’s in and who’s not in,” Mora said.